Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

So close... but so far away

Looks like the Nat Gas Act has been punted to the lame duck Congress session according to this article in The Street.

I think this quote from the article sums it up:
"The passage of the natural gas subsidy is the push the nascent sector needs to get over the proverbial hump and change what has been a slow, short-term order growth story. Without it, the natural gas vehicle stocks may not have much upside for the next few quarters, unless, of course, the legislative outlook changes yet again."
What is the potential game-changer in this bill? Federal tax incentives for BI-FUEL vehicles. Oklahoma gives the same tax credit for bi-fuel as it does for dedicated, because that's what it takes to drive adoption - bi-fuel will create the demand for CNG which will drive the construction of fueling infrastructure. There are just not enough CNG fueling options yet to drive broad dedicated CNG adoption.

For example, my family will trade out the 2004 Honda Pilot for a bi-fuel Tahoe or Expedition as soon as bi-fuel tax incentives are allowed.  There are just too many road trips we make where CNG is not available yet.

Isn't it amazing that a bill supported by many, many congressmen on both sides of the aisle can be delayed for years?  

Meanwhile, the cheapest and cleanest car in America has almost 12,000 miles on it now... :-)

Filling up in Sapulpa, OK

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Oklahoma House Bill 3024 ends OK income tax credits for electric vehicles on July 1, 2010

Since the Nissan Leaf won't be available for purchase until later in 2010, there will be no Oklahoma income tax credits available for the Leaf.  See page 8 of the signed legislation here.

The income tax credits for CNG remain in place.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Planning to attend a lunch with T. Boone on Wednesday

Here's the details:

Lunch with Special Guest T. Boone Pickens

benefitting Congressman John Sullivan

Wednesday June 2, 2010 11:30a

At the Helmerich Research Center at
OSU-Tulsa, 700 N Greenwood

Individual tickets: $50

Seating is limited for this event,
please RSVP by MONDAY May 31st to
918-712-2290 or sullivan2010events@gmail.com

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Oklahoma - you have an alternative

Compressed Natural Gas is widely available in Oklahoma, it's cheaper than gasoline, and the Honda Civic GX is as cheap as the gasoline Honda Civic.

Or you can keep supporting oil....



Saturday, May 22, 2010

A new CNG station in Ada, OK & the Green American Road Trip

The Chickasaw nation just opened a CNG station in Ada, OK.  I don't get to Ada very often... I'm still waiting on a station to open in Durant, OK or Paris, TX so I can easily make a trip to Dallas without going down I-35.

Also, been tracking Castlen Kennedy's trip with a dedicated CNG Tahoe.  She just almost ran out of fuel between Baton Rouge and Florida due to a 3 hour delay in Baton Rouge traffic.  This sure highlights the need for more fueling stations.  Also, once Castlen arrived at the station in Milton, FL it was closed... that's strange because all the stations I fuel at in Oklahoma are unmanned and open 24/7.  I never have a problem getting fuel all hours of the day.

Here's a map of Castlen's planned route from Austin to Boston:

View Green American Road Trip Fueling Stations in a larger map

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Why I reserved a Nissan Leaf

I reserved a Nissan Leaf for many of the same reasons that I purchased a CNG-fueled Honda Civic GX in November, 2009

  1. Fuel costs (4 cents/mi for the Civic; forecasted to be 3 cents/mi for the Leaf)
  2. Abundance of domestic fuel to produce electricity, just as there is plenty of domestic natural gas to fuel my Honda Civic GX
  3. Federal and Oklahoma income tax credits that reduce the price of the Leaf by 50%
  4. Sufficient fueling locations - starting with my garage for the Leaf.  The CNG fueling option for the Civic is still unavailable.
  5. Battery viability? Not sure - but I'll be finding out!  More on that in a minute.
  6. Safer than driving around with a tub of gasoline
So, almost all of the reasons (except for #5) that I purchased a CNG vehicle apply to a electric vehicle.  It's cheaper, easier to fuel, & doesn't use foreign supplied fuel.  

Now, battery viability - Nissan states that the Leaf should travel 100 miles on one charge and that the batteries should last 5 to 10 years.  That's a bit of variability in the life expectancy... I would tend to favor a CNG tank over a battery except for one thing - our society will adopt batteries much quicker than a CNG tank.  Recharging a car battery gives the owner the illusion that their daily commute is emission-free. 

My primary conviction is that the US is going broke due to the massive quantities of energy source imports.  Any viable technology that enables use of domestic energy for transportation purposes should be pursued.  

So, I am hedging - I will have an electric powered vehicle and a natural gas powered one as well.  But neither will require crude oil derivatives.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Reserved a Nissan Leaf

Got the email from Nissan tonight that I could pay $99 and reserve a Nissan Leaf.  Talking to Bob Howard Nissan in OKC this afternoon, I learned that Oklahoma would be in the second wave of cars which means that I could get the car around February 2011.   Ordered a black exterior SL version.

Battery powered cars may be available soon.... the Nissan Leaf

$99 deposits can be placed on the Nissan Leaf later today if you have pre-registered on Nissan's Leaf website. Just talked to Bob Howard in OKC - they are certified to sell the car.

Why is this so exciting?
  • 100 miles per charge
  • Less then $20,000 to purchase after federal and Oklahoma income tax credits (while Oklahoma previously allowed a tax credit equal 50% of the electric car purchase price, that credit will now be limited to the amount of the federal tax credit.  However, the amount of OK tax credit is very much in question - see this blog article from April 8.)
  • No gasoline, therefore no crude oil required
  • The fuel source can now be anything that produces electricity - wind, solar, natural gas, coal, nuclear.
I'm planning to use the car to offset the Honda Pilot use around town.  Will keep the Honda pilot for use on trips.

The first cars are to ship in December this year.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Tulsa World's 2/7/10 coverage of CNG

Examining the caveats of CNG and Only Natural are the two Tulsa World articles.  I have a couple of comments about some information shared in the articles.
"The biggest challenge is infrastructure not only in the state but throughout the U.S.," Chris Hoffman, Oklahoma State University's manager of transportation services, said. "And there's going to be a payback on fuel costs, but not a total payback." 
As readers of this blog know, I paid less for the CNG-powered 2010 Honda Civic GX after federal and state tax credits than it would have cost me to buy a gasoline-powered 2010 Honda Civic LX.  And, of course, the fuel is $1.00 per gallon cheaper...

And then there's the filling-up part. Some companies may make kits to take natural gas straight from the home meter, but the process reportedly is slow. And getting to the station is hardly like pulling into the local QuikTrip. CNG stations are spread out, unmanned and require a credit card.
As I've shared in this blog, there are multiple, convenient locations to fuel with CNG in Oklahoma. The process is faster than fueling with gasoline. See all available CNG fueling locations at cngprices.com.

View Craig's CNG Honda in a larger map

Monday, February 1, 2010

Honda Civic GX tops ACEEE's Greenest Car List for 2010

"The natural gas-powered Honda Civic GX continues its stronghold on the number one spot for the seventh year running."

Greenest Vehicles of 2010

Make and ModelSpecifications aEmission Standardb
MPG: City
MPG: Hwy
Green Score
HONDA CIVIC GX c1.8L 4, auto [CNG]Tier 2 bin 2 / PZEV243657
TOYOTA PRIUS1.8L 4, auto CVTTier 2 bin 3 / PZEV514852
HONDA CIVIC HYBRID1.3L 4, auto CVTTier 2 bin 2 / PZEV404551
SMART FORTWO CONVERTIBLE / COUPE1.0L 3, manualTier 2 bin 5 / ULEV II334150
HONDA INSIGHT1.3L 4, auto CVTTier 2 bin 3404350
FORD FUSION HYBRID / MERCURY MILAN HYBRID2.4L 4, auto CVTTier 2 bin 3 / PZEV413647
TOYOTA YARIS1.5L 4, manualTier 2 bin 5 / ULEV II293646
NISSAN ALTIMA HYBRID2.5L 4, auto CVTPZEV353346
MINI COOPER1.6L 4, manual [P]Tier 2 bin 5 / ULEV II283745
CHEVROLET COBALT XFE / PONTIAC G5 XFE2.2L 4, manualTier 2 bin 5 / PZEV253745
HYUNDAI ACCENT BLUE1.6L 4, manualTier 2 bin 5 / ULEV II273645
HONDA FIT1.5L 4, autoTier 2 bin 5 / ULEV II283545
[CNG] denotes compressed natural gas fuel.
[P] denotes premium gasoline
"auto CVT" denotes continuously variable automatic transmission.
a
 Certain other configurations of these models (with different transmissions or meeting different emission standards) score nearly as well.
b A listing with two emission standards (e.g., Tier 2 bin 2/ PZEV) denotes a single vehicle carrying both a Federal and a California emission certification. Green Scores for such listings reflect the cleaner of the two certifications.
c Compressed natural gas (CNG) vehicle fuel economy given in gasoline-equivalent miles per gallon.

From http://www.greenercars.org/highlights_greenest.htm

Now, I wonder what the stats look like if you apply some economics?  What if the Green Score is adjusted for the vehicle purchase price and the fuel price? The Honda Civic GX is thousands cheaper than the Toyota Prius, the Honda Civic Hybrid, the Honda Insight, the Ford Fusion Hybrid and the Honda Civic GX fuel is cheaper also. 

Sunday, January 31, 2010

The effect of temperature on natural gas

Some folks have asked about the effect of ambient temperature on CNG.

As the natural gas is stored in a fixed volume tank, the tank's pressure will vary in direct proportion to the temperature of the gas in the tank.  See the chart below - and here's how the Institute of Gas Technology (IGT) explains it in their 1993 document:

Natural gas (or any gas) when  confined in a fixed space will increase in pressure as the ambient temperature rises or decrease in pressure as the temperature falls.  This is true for natural gas in a vehicle's storage tank as well as the air in the vehicle's tires.  The magnitude of the change in pressure is a function of the size of temperature change, starting pressure, and the gas composition.  Since the term "natural gas" represents a broad range of gas compositions as distributed in the US, IGT used a mean natural gas composition.
The temperature-pressure relationship figure presented (below) can be used to determine the change in pressure corresponding to a change in temperature for natural gas.  Six reference lines have been plotted corresponding to six different starting gas pressures at 70 deg F.  As an example, point A represents natural gas in a storage container at 3,000 psig and 70 deg F.  Should the gas temperature drop to 40 deg F, one can expect the gas pressure in the tank to drop to 2,596 psig (point B)... It is important to note that the change in pressure does not represent a change in the amount of gas (energy) within the tank.  The gas simply contracted or expanded as a result of the change in temperature.

This source document and others like it can be viewed in The File Library of cngchat.com.

Note that you can comment on this blog entry and all other entries posted here.  Please feel free to comment or ask questions. - Craig

Sunday, January 24, 2010

I don't have the heart to tell them that they got ripped off...



Unfortunately my fellow Oklahoman paid thousands more for the hybrid Civic and still pays more for fuel....- Craig

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Update on my Honda Civic GX CNG experience

The car is working great - it was over 2,600 miles on it now.  As you can see on my mileage tracker, the longest range so far is 200 miles and the most natural gas I've refueled it with 6.1 gge.  The refueling ease has been a welcome surprise; there are less fueling locations, but the process is just as quick as fueling with gasoline.   The oil life indicator shows 70% oil life remaining so the oil change frequency is much less than a gasoline vehicle. 

This Google Map shows all the fuel stations I've used so far, and the furtherest destinations in the Honda Civic GX.  The Stroud fuel dispenser is located at the turnpike McDonald's/gas station - it's very convenient. 

It's very satisfying to be driving this car that is so cheap to operate and so environmentally friendly; while others around the US are having to wait and wait for the promises of plug-in hybrids.  We are so blessed to have the CNG infrastructure in Oklahoma!


View Craig's CNG Honda in a larger map

Here's the latest new station in Oklahoma City - just south of I-44 on Western Ave.

Right off I-44 on Western.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Filling up in the snow at ONG's Okmulgee site


Filling up at ONG's Okmulgee site - very convenient as it is right next to Hwy 75 on the south side of town.  That's Hwy 75 on the left side of the picture - looking south.  Got almost 3,600 psig in the Civic CNG tank - this is the last Oklahoma CNG station when traveling south to Dallas on Hwy 75/69.  I'm going to see how many miles I can get on this tank to see if I can make the drive to Dallas on this route - it's 211 miles from this Okmulgee station to Clean Energy's Garland station.

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